“Maggie’s American Dream” by James P. Comer (228 pages) is a compelling nonfiction book about the author and his mother, Maggie. Because “Maggie’s American Dream” is easy to read, it could be used with students from Grade 7 through college. This high-interest book about the Black American family is sure to engage students while offering a window into 20th century American history.
The first half of the book focuses on the life of James’ mother Maggie; the second half, on James’ life. Maggie’s life began in poverty in the deep Sough in the early twentieth century. After moving north to Indiana, just outside of Chicago, Maggie’s determination and sound decisions enabled her to shepherd her family to success in just one generation.
I wrote these five comprehension quizzes when I taught this book in a developmental reading course to underprepared college freshmen. My quizzes are designed to assess students’ literal and analytical comprehension while motivating students to read independently. The quiz questions are fairly easy, so students who complete the assigned reading are likely to earn high scores. Students who don’t do well on the first quiz quickly realize that they should have completed the reading. This can create an incentive to read.
Each quiz is worth 20 points, so the quizzes total 100 points. They contain a variety of questions to appeal to students’ different learning styles:
1. Quiz #1 covers pp. xiii-42. It contains 13 True-False questions and one short written response.
2. Quiz #2 covers pp. 43-101. It contains 10 multiple-choice questions and one short essay question. For the essay, students may pick one of three choices.
3. Quiz #3 covers pp. 105-140. It contains 4 short essay questions. For the last question, students may pick one of three choices.
4. Quiz #4 covers pp. 141-184. It contains 12 short-answer questions.
5. Quiz #5 covers pp. 187-228. It contains 13 multiple-choice questions.
The questions on all quizzes are chronological, enabling you to determine how far students got – or didn’t get – in their reading. This creates an opportunity to address assignment completion with students.
Each quiz is followed by an Answer Key that includes page references.